It continues to be a very difficult winter for islanders. Lands End Airport is in its 4th week of being closed which means flights have had to be re-routed to Newquay which is an awkward destination for most islanders (more here). There have been a significant number of jet boat (RIB) crossing between Scilly and Penzance. These are expensive (£100 - £120 per person each way) and exhausting as the 40 mile crossing takes about 2 hrs. The transport situation is proving unacceptable to many and especially for those with a medical need to travel to the mainland frequently
One of the issues that FRIST has to address early is convincing the IOS Council that the status quo in the winter months is unacceptable. This was not a problem that FRIST expected to have to address when it set out on its task in August 2012. Our first opportunity to meet with the Council planned for mid January has been deferred until February at the Council's request.
Infrastructure improvement projects planned for St Mary’s Harbour and St Mary’s Airport are necessary but will not change the fundamental problem in the winter months which is that it is not commercially possible to provide the essential transport services islanders need without some Government help. This should come as no surprise because no other comparable island in the UK achieves acceptable lifeline services without some element of Government subsidy.
FRIST support has been steadily growing with over 2000 people now supporting the campaign. Approximately 43% of islanders have responded to a FRIST mail drop generously funded by the local Rotary Club. You can read about Marian Bennett’s interview with Scilly Today "FRIST Support Reaches 2,000 Mark " here. The comments against this article are worth reading.
A more detailed update for FRIST supporters is currently being composed so apologies to all those new supporters who have signed up and not yet received an update from us.